Today feels like the first day of my life. Yesterday I quit my job, and today I’m starting my dream career.
I grew up in a family where cooking was the absolute center of everything. I still remember the smell of Sunday mornings in the kitchen, when my dad would prep an elaborate “family dinner,” as we called it. Oftentimes the aroma of braised meat would permeate the whole house. It’s funny the things you vividly remember as a child. To this day, the smell of onions and garlic sautéing on the stove gives me chills.
I was always dad’s little sous chef. I still remember my first time taking over the kitchen in my early teens, attempting to cook a whole meal for “family dinner.” Regardless of the squishy pasta and overcooked chicken, I still felt a sense of pride I had never felt before. After that day, the kitchen became my favorite room in the house.
Fast forward to college, I remember my mind wandering from exam study sessions to scribbling out new recipe ideas in the margins of my notebooks. My new Friday nights were spent testing and tasting in the kitchen of my college apartment, with Food Network playing in the background. One night, I fondly remember making cod with a puttanesca (olive and tomato) sauce. It was so simple but so good. I was so proud of myself. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I spent it on my MacBook, lying in bed in the dark, reading about Ree Drummond “The Pioneer Woman,” and other chef bloggers – and thinking about what it would be like to be like them one day.
Today I’m typing on that same MacBook – just over three years from the day that I started my own blog, TastefullyGrace. In those years, I’ve:
- Graduated college. Met the love of my life and now fiancé, Eric.
- Worked in a fast casual restaurant to learn about the industry. Met some incredibly hard working people there and realized how difficult life is for so many, even with hard work.
- Created a business plan for a fast casual restaurant that would be different from the broken model I saw. Realized I didn’t have the money to start that restaurant.
- Worked for a caterer and started to learn the ropes of a small business. Realized all the little details I hadn’t thought of to own a business.
- Started a corporate job because I realized I needed money to do anything and everything. Realized that the money alone didn’t make me happy.
- Started business planning again, but this time, on a smaller scale: a food truck. COVID-19 happened. Food truck plans were crushed.
I first viewed this new “quarantine” life as a slowdown: an unwanted interruption from the few years I felt were the “golden years” to pursue my career dreams before I wanted to start a family. It took me time to realize that this slow “quarantine” life was revealing everything I needed to pursue my dreams: my passion, my support system, my blog, and my hunger to try.
Yesterday I quit my corporate job. I’m taking the biggest leap I may ever take. This road is so unknown, and I’m not sure where it will take me. I’ve never felt this scared or excited. I’ve never felt more judged. I’ve never felt more proud. I’ve never felt so liberated. I’ve never felt so ready.
Thank you Eric for pushing me into the water yet being my lifeguard as I learn to swim.
Thank you Family for giving me the courage, the confidence, and the conviction.